The Fleckney 1st XI hosted University of Leicester Staff 2nd XI on Saturday and the question for our skipper was, to bat or bowl. He lost the toss and was invited to bat on a green wicket on a blustery day.
The skipper has been accused of many things since being at the helm, panicking under pressure, tactically clueless and being “an example not to follow” to name a few.
The players under him would like to add cowardice to the list.
Having been bowled out in the first over the week before and seeing a tricky wicket due to adverse weather conditions, he used the captains prerogative well and truly and batted himself at a comfortable No.6.
Uni Staff were certainly getting the most out of the wicket and nibbled the ball off the seam to get some early wickets. FVCC were three down by the ninth over and scoring was tough. Samit Kanji steadied the ship with a watchful 20, just what the doctor ordered (he got his excuses in early before the match, abscess on my tooth, bad reaction to antibiotics blah blah blah). Bobby Upple, back in some form, was the pick of the innings with a 39 including some big sixes.
The skipper joined him and was advised by Bobby to “play straight, get your eye in and leave it if you can”, after two successful overs of doing so the chirp from Bobby of “now you’re batting at six your finally playing like an opener” was uncalled for.
After hitting a straight six off the spinner, the skipper was bowled next ball trying to defend. He thought it drifted in and span sharply away – Terry Compton put the boot it and informed him and everyone else “you just missed a straight one”. James Loomes added a handy 16 and FVCC finished on a defendable 132. The innings ended with Terry Compton raising the finger to signal Dave Brown was out for a golden duck LBW, this was a first at FVCC, due to no one else having the balls to do it.
Uni Staff showed their intent early by hitting some very solid boundaries. FVCC openers Daz Webber and Mark Harris were bowling good old fashioned line and length and getting movement in the air and off the pitch. However, you can’t beat a full toss on leg stump to get the breakthrough, their big hitter smashing one into Jimmy Loomes hands at midwicket. Marky then bowled a genuine Jaffa nipping back and hitting the top of middle stump, the casual low-key celebration falsely suggesting he does that regularly.
So the opening bowlers had done their job taking wickets, Marky “I’m not buying a jug” Harris only picking up four wickets and keeping the scoring down.
But there was a long way to go when Bobby Upple, Jimmy Loomes and Jason Nicholson stepped up with the game still in the balance. Starved of runs Uni Staff tried to pinch a single to Sam Payne in the covers, that was a big mistake with Sam firing a bullet into Dave Browns mitts behind the stumps for an easy run out, Dave needing to rapidly readjust as he was ready for the normal “Fleckney throw” below his ankle.
Archie Brown, got everyone worried when he dropped a sitter at mid-on, but he more than made up for it with an absolute worldie, grabbing hold full stretch of a ball which was on its way for a flat six. So it proved 132 was too much as Uni Staff were bowled out for 82. A strange feeling for FVCC with a solid performance all-round – there’s always next week to get back into the swing of things.